Tag Archives: Boreham Wood

Ricky Shakes Bees as Jack joins Blades

9 Jul

The rumour mill has done it again, in part, as Jack O’Connell’s move from Brentford to Sheffield United was confirmed yesterday. With the other subject for discussion, Alan McCormack, taking part in our 2-1 defeat to Boreham Wood despite being reported to have held talks with Southend United the future is less clear there.

First up, Jack O’Connell . He leaves Griffin Park for Bramall Lane, having spent 18 months and featured 18 times for Brentford. The signing of John Egan made it 5 centre backs on the books and so it was perhaps inevitable that there would be some outward movement in that position. With Yoann Barbet more than demonstrating his ability last season, full Danish international Andreas Bjelland back from that horrendous injury and Harlee Dean (who it is hard to believe is still only 24) well established perhaps Jack has just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jack O'Connell signs

Jack has swapped Bees for Blades

It’s a real shame on an individual level. I really thought he had the making of a great player. Correction, I think Jack has the makings of a great player.  It just won’t be with the Bees.

Jack looked like he might be forging a partnership with James Tarkowski at one point around Christmas time. He had , of course, stepped in to replace Harlee after a three game ban for seeing red against Nottingham Forest (granted, a moment that saw the visitors’ Jonathan Williams collapse like a sack of spuds before a Lazarus style recovery). It was a period that saw us earn 5 points out of 9 and one which culminated in his equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Fulham.

The fans went delirious and, but for a rogue linesman, the Bees would conceivably have gone on to pick up all three points that afternoon. Jack’s reward, keeping his place for the next game at Cardiff City despite Harlee’s ban having been served. Sadly, it wasn’t to be and a 3-2 defeat saw him consigned once more to the bench.

Like Alfie Mawson and Will Grigg last season, players have shown they can leave  Griffin Park for League 1 and earn a return to the Championship. Sheffield United have ‘been there and done it’ many times before. I have no doubt in the potential of Jack to help them do it again. Good luck !

The other transfer story doing the rounds surrounded Alan McCormack , supposedly holding talks with Southend United. Those who made the trip to Boreham Wood or tuned in to hear Mark Burridge and Charlie MacDonald describe the action on Bees Player HD would have been well aware that last night he was lining up for the Bees.

What can you say about that game? Not much, beyond well done to a Boreham Wood side who were missing Yakubu. (Yes. That one) but featured former Bees cult hero Ricky Shakes.

It was a pre-season loosener after we’ve been back in training for about five minutes and they won. Nicely done, Boreham. Dean Smith certainly made his feelings clear in the post match interview that talked of a great exercise in which he got exactly what he wanted. You can read more of that one on the official site.

For the Bees, of course a victory by any margin would have been nice but what would it have told us? Not much. Traditionally, these games see multiple players used and this was once more the case. Dean Smith picking two almost entirely different line ups with Lasse Vibe, Romaine Sawyers, Dan Bentley, Josh McEachran, Alan Judge and Sam Saunders amongst the notable absentees.

On the plus side, Lewis Macleod is fit. And scored. This is huge. Like Scott Hogan, a player with huge potential but one who has faced the best part of 18 months out of action. Here’s hoping that like Scott, all the pain and effort reaps a just reward.

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The Bees, in sponsor free kit, lost out by the odd goal in three

Then again, this does give head coach Dean Smith even more of a challenge as to whom he picks from an already voluminous set of midfield options.  Romaine Sawyers is in whilst Lewis is, cliché alert, ‘like a new signing‘. With John Swift back at Chelsea, Sergi Canos at Liverpool / ?  and Jota on loan (surely that will just be a matter of time before, sadly, formalities are completed) what next ?

Alan Judge continues his return from injury although the pessimist in me suspects that once fit, he’ll be the subject of renewed interest from a whole host of suitors. But it is the question of Macca that really intrigues. The iron fist within our velvet glove of a midfield, is a player of his style a thing of the past or do we still need that tough tackling and experience?

For me Clive, it’s the later. This is the Championship, not a nursery. Will he start every game? Unlikely. Do we have an alternative with his steel when needed? I can’t see one at the moment.

And that’s not meant as any disrespect to any of the wonderful individuals we are assembling in a truly impressive squad. But a bit of variety can only be a good thing and, personally, I’d love to see a player with his very particular set of skills, skills acquired over a long career, retained on the Griffin Park playing staff. They are skills that make him a nightmare for opponents but will Dean and the team decide they are still needed?

Here’s hoping the right decision is taken.

Nick Bruzon 

And finally…. :   The Last Word ‘season review’ : Ready. Steady. Go Again and the three year anthology : The Bees are going up remain available for download. For all the info, the highs, the lows, more highs then  you can do so now.

Its been a wonderful three years. Here’s to more of the same over 2016/17. Thanks, as ever, for reading.

 

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A Long journey South as Bees capitulate at Turf Moor

23 Aug

Whilst Brentford may be anything from £6.5m – to £10m better off (depending on what you read) this weekend, points-wise we were left very much empty handed after going down 1-0 at Burnley. And it was a win, I’m afraid to say, that Burnley very much deserved from where I was sitting (the away stand at Turf Moor).

The action is about to begin at turf Moor - and doesn't more turf look great?

The action is about to begin at Turf Moor – and doesn’t more turf look great?

Being quite honest, one first half chance for Lasse Vibe aside, all the Andre Grays in the world would have made no real difference to Brentford. Don’t put this loss down to his absence. We were so obsessed with passing the ball backwards and sideways between the defence and goalkeeper, it is no wonder the stats showed such high pass completion or 62% possession.

Hanging on to the ball at the back is all well and good, and we did that part very well, but the lack of any imagination, movement, cut and/or thrust when we tried to take it forward was, ultimately, what did for us. At 0-0 away from home this works but having conceded such a simple goal from a set piece, where Philipp Hoffman failed to get his man, something needed to change. And it didn’t.

The introduction of Maxime Colin and switch of Alan McCormack to centre mid was certainly a start. The new right back has already won over plenty of fans based on his display and it was easy to see why. The problem is that it was too little, too late. Equally, Marinus almost had his hands tied given the sudden dearth of midfield options as a result of recent transfer activity and injury.

The style of football we were looking to play was just too static, too slow and bereft of any sense of urgency. Burnley hardly pushed us but then they had no need to. Being fair, up to the point of the Vibe chance, where he made a magnificent run onto a beautiful through ball from Kerschbaumer, we’d probably been the better of two cagey sides.

Certainly Marinus, in his interview with BBC Billy Reeves, deemed it our best passage of play since he has been here. But then Burnley scored from the simplest of set pieces and, with Brentford unable to step it up, the home side looked comfortable.

This was the sort of game crying out for a Sam Sanders, Jota or Moses to pick up the ball and run at this opposition. Our current run of form with injuries certainly hasn’t helped the cause, that’s for sure, but its no excuse. There were still plenty of good enough players out there but our obsession with sideways passing (something I thought had died with the departure of Jonathan Douglas) was what ultimately did for Brentford.

Positives included the debut of Max Colin (somebody whose name constantly puts me in mind of Christopher Walken’s character from Roger Moore’s final Bond effort, ‘A View to a Kill’) at right back and the ability to switch Alan Mac to centre mid. I thought Harlee and Tarks looked very solid at the back whilst the former added additional threat up top when we finally started to ‘go for it’ in the final five minutes. The pitch was immaculate whilst, points wise, we are in the same position after three games as we were last season.

Max Zorin - crowbarred excuse

Max Zorin – better placed at Turf…Moore ??

Those BBC stats also show we had 7(seven) shots, including 4 on target. There was Lasse’s chance, Alan Judge came close with a free kick and a slow-mo effort from The Hoff in the first half that almost fooled everybody except Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal. However, other than that I struggle to recall him being overly stretched.

Look. It wasn’t a great performance and I do have to wonder about the choice of tactics that seemed, for all the world, to be the mark of a side a side playing for a 0-0 or hoping to snatch something on the break. It’s a shame we didn’t have the courage to play more open football as the Kerschbaumer pass to Vibe showed how easily the opposition could be opened up, with the right movement.

Likewise a few more crosses, had Philipp Hoffman got into second gear to try and meet those that were delivered, would always have been welcome.

The flipside is that we are only three games into a new season and have both a new head coach and a new look squad. Our cause hasn’t been helped by horrendous bad luck when it comes to injury whilst, and you have to remember, Brentford don’t have a divine right to win every game.

Perhaps it is more a commentary on how far we have come and how quickly that we can be genuinely disappointed about losing a game in the Championship. To a team that were gracing the Premiership last season. It wasn’t so long ago that a trip up North was to the likes of Tranmere Rovers, who lost 0-2 at home to Boreham Wood in the conference yesterday, so some perspective is definitely needed.

Talking to Burnley fans before and after the game, word on the street is that the Bees were looking at a loan for Chris Long, as part of the deal that took Andre to Burnley. Interestingly, he played no part in proceedings yesterday and so one does have to wonder if there is any truth in that?

Brentford fans know just what he can do when the ball is in that final third of the field and Chris would be a great acquisition if we could get hold of him. But, equally, why would Burnley have bought the player in the first instance only to then immediately ‘get rid’?

Chris Long - could he be back again?

Chris Long – could he be back again?

Marinus, in the aforementioned interview with Billy, denied any definitive attempt so far to make a move on anybody but, equally, acknowledged that it was as position we need to cover. You can catch that in full, here.

Off field, those of us able to get back in time might have caught ‘Football League Tonight’ on Channel 5. With the show now in week three, the car crash that was the season opener seems an eternity ago as further changes were in evidence upon catching up with that today.

Only Adam Virgo and the awkward looking audience remain from those elements so heavily criticised in the season opener. Even the kebab shop poles that housed the 70’s style ‘league ladders’ have now been replaced by a 21st Century computer graphic showing the Championship table.

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

A compute graphic now replaces a kebab shop skewer

I understand that Channel 5 need to try and be different but, equally, they need to give the audience what they want. Well done for changing so much, so quickly.

They’ve made a decision to stick with the audience that hang around like a bunch of spare parts and so I can only imagine that is here to stay. You know what? I kind of like that aspect now. It still isn’t up to the package put together by Sky but for ‘terrestrial’ viewers, Kelly Cates and George Riley are starting to steam up the blind side.

Let’s hope Brentford can do the same thing next time out at home to Reading.

And as a side note, anybody wanting another, very interesting, insight on the Andre Gray transfer and cost would do well to check out Billy The Bee’s latest Beesotted article. It makes for an intriguing read…

Billy The Bee - Mr Grant asking the right questions, as ever

Billy The Bee – Mr Grant has a great take on events

Nick Bruzon

Billy’s gentle probing confirms Douglas departure as Bees go down.

29 Jul

After the high of victory against Stoke City at the weekend, Brentford came back down to earth with a bump, of sorts, following Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Luton Town. And elsewhere, there was a surprise turnout for the development squad at Dundee United.

First though, the Luton game. I wasn’t there – and fairplay to the 242 Brentford fans who did make it across – so it’s hard to say much in regards to the performance directly. I, like many, was reliant on Beesplayer where we learned as much after the game as during it.

Billy Reeves, who had used half time to give us a potted run through of his pre-Bees career (including a lexicon of fascinating facts about former band mate Sophie Ellis-Bextor) then flipped the tables. Having been gently probed by Mark Burridge at half time he adopted his own, more typical, role of interviewer to quiz Marinus.

theaudience - Billy has many strings to his bow

theaudience – Billy has many strings to his bow

I like Billy. A lot. We all know what we are going to get when he is in the hot seat and, as he had earlier told Mark, its because he is a fan. He asks those questions we want to know.

Sure enough – the big one on everybody’s lips at present is about Jonathan Douglas. We’ve all read the stories to suggest that he’s on his way out of Griffin Park but was it true?

So Billy put the question and Marinus was able to confirm in a very direct answer. I have to be honest I was surprised by the openness of his reply (but that’s no bad thing) as he told listeners, “He’s not part of the squadHe’s training separately…it’s better to move on, for his future, and for Brentford.”

This is a rapid fall from grace for the previously untouchable midfielder and one does wonder if anything else has happened behind the scenes to trigger such a course of action. Whilst the legs were clearly catching up on him in the second half of last season, don’t forget he was captain as recently as the Boreham Wood friendly.

Some will cry – Dougie was very popular with many supporters. Personally, I was of the opinion that his time had come. The goals were great but we were left exposed time and again last season by those meandering sorties up field that then left a gap you could park an oil tanker in.

With the midfield already providing problems of the best sort – and Dave Morley, alongside Mark B, really struggled to name his own starting XI for the season opener against Ipswich – perhaps Dougie has paid the price. I’d still expect more to follow him out of the door, though.

Dougie  - in happier times under Mark Warburton

Dougie – in happier times under Mark Warburton

Up front, Philipp Hofmann got the goal for Brentford – his second in as many games – which prompted more questions about that position. Specifically, Andre Gray. And only because, like Dougie before him, the other nagging rumour that won’t go away is in regards to potential bids for him. Hull City AFC are the latest team being inked to a bid.

Sadly Billy missed his cue on this one. You could almost hear the self-administered ‘slap to forehead’ as he realised, with our head coach having departed, that this was the other thing he really should have asked about. The official line from the club is that Marinus wants all his players to stay. I’d hope so.

Still, like the first team, this is all about getting back up to full speed. Billy’s gentle probing is always a great reason to stick around after full time for anybody unfortunate enough not to be at the game. Like the Bees, perhaps it was only natural that we might make the odd mistake as we get back into the swing of things after the summer break.

Besides, Billy did learn another key nugget of information. That the team to line up at Norwich City on Saturday will be 90% of the one Marinus expects to start against Ipswich Town, in the league, the following weekend.

Dave Morley – you’d better get your notepad ready.

And finally, Kevin O’Connor. Firstly, a reminder that 100% of any sales of my season reviews 2013/14 and 2014/15 are currently going towards his charity cycle ride this weekend. I had promised to donate anything raised and challenged my fellow author (although that is the loosest term when it comes to yours truly) Greville Waterman to do the same. Fairplay to Greville who has already weighed in with a very generous donation.

Certainly, that’s something I’ll match in the likely event it doesn’t get surpassed ahead of the designated time – next Saturday. Alternatively, if you’d like to contribute to the casue directly then you can do so at www.givey.com/ride100bfccst aswell as learning more about this event.

So perhaps it was with this cycle in mind that the development squad had a somewhat familiar face in the line up at Dundee United yesterday (and thanks to Andrew Gardner, @bodge1876, on twitter). Was it merely an attempt to keep fitness levels up or is Kev contemplating what Sid Waddell so famously once described as “The biggest comeback since Lazarus “?

Still got it, Kev..

Still got it, Kev..

Return of the Mac will see first look at our future

19 Jul

Finally, it feels as though things are getting closer. There has been plenty of build up from Brentford supporters, the club and the press alike but pre-season prep cranks up a notch today after what seems an interminable wait since Middlesbrough got one over us in the play off semis. With the Mark Warburton saga finally being closed out following his move to Rangers, and those incessant transfer rumours going silent, for now (Andre Gray to QPR, Hull City, just about anywhere being the chief concern) perhaps we can concentrate on the business at hand. A match. At Boreham Wood.

Sunday afternoon sees a 3pm fixture against the National League (former Conference) outfit who have recently been strengthened by none other than Charlie MacDonald. But it is less the opposition that is of interest than fans’ first chance to see Marinus and his team in action, first hand.

Hopefully not a sign of things to come

Just two of several posts promoting pyrotechnics

To read the rest of this article, season 2015/16 is now available to download onto Kindle (and other electronic reading device) in full, as :   Ready. Steady. Go Again. : Brentford FC season review 2015 – 2016

Thanks for reading and all your comments over the course of the season. For now, it’s the annual clean up to make more space on the site for the inevitable follow up. However, ‘close season’ will continue in full, further along.

But wait, like all the best infomercials, there’s more. The last three seasons of the Last Word : Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup; Tales from the football village and Ready. Steady. Go Again are also available in one combined volume as: 

Brentford Football Club – The Bees are going up. Season reviews: 2013/14, 2014/15 & 2015/16 

We did. And we still are ! 

Where’s Will-y ? Is it an S.O.S from TW8?

18 Jul

Brentford kicked off their warm up for football in The Championship with a trip to Boreham Wood last night. The 253 who attended were treated to a 3-1 win for the Bees and had the added advantage over TW8 residents in not being blasted with Kew Gardens’ Abba concert.

In a marvellously ironic gesture of neighbourly relations from the World Heritage site, the sounds of their open air show reached Griffin Park, and beyond, in a note perfect recreation of what it must be like to be stuck inside of Alan Partridge’s head.

On pitch, it was always good to hear Kevin O’Connor open the scoring from the penalty spot. Mr Reliable’s strike from 12 yards (although he’d probably nail one from 18) was definitely music to my ears.

The other point of note was that, according to Billy Reeves twitter feed, Sam Saunders and new boy Alex Pritchard were in attendance but there was no sighting of Will Grigg. Even the non-playing David Button had, reportedly, been spotted . And this in a game where 23 players were in the squad.

The last time we’d heard of the Northern Ireland International, he was slapping Harlee Dean in the face with a fish. So where was Will last night ? An injury in training or had he ‘gone to the beach’, Simon Moore style ?

Was Will injured, in disguise or 'at the beach' last night?

Was Will injured, in disguise or ‘at the beach’ last night?

Bristol City have been amongst a number of clubs reportedly interested in our man over the summer and so could a move, loan or otherwise, be in the offing? Given the Bees already thin forward line, I’d hope not. And if for no other reason than I think Grigg still has the potential to find the form that caused us to sign him from Walsall aswell as earning selection for his country.

The flipside, of course, (and remember that this is all pure speculation) is that Mark Warburton is clearing the decks ahead of any further new signing. The names of Scott Hogan and Patrick Bamford (Rochdale and Chelsea, respectively) have been doing the rounds for a while but are these simply the result of wishful thinking over a quiet summer? Or is Matthew Benham firing up the cryptic clue generator once more?

Is Will going to ask Warbs to ‘Take a Chance on Me” or will the Bees be spending the “Money, Money, Money”?

Either way, I’m sure we’ll learn more over the coming days.

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’ (The story of Brentford’s 2013/14 promotion campaign, amongst other football related chatter) – is now available as a digital book. Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from last season, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle / digital device.

 

Dear Kew Gardens – in future, please limit your Abba to repeats of Alan Partridge .

 

‘That band’ play second fiddle to Team 54

19 Nov

“0-0 – an incredible result”.

Not my words but those of commentary team Paul Grant and Richard Lavagna as Gibraltar (population 29,436 at the last count) made their ‘official’ international football debut against Slovakia. So exciting was the moment that I’m not sure if it was even Paul or Richard  although, to be honest with you, it probably wasn’t the best game for the neutral in terms of football. However, for what it represented, it blew the subsequent England-Germany game out of the water. So much so that even the ever tiresome ‘Supporter’s band’ couldn’t upset me.

After years of Spanish objections, Gibraltar were, in May, of this year, finally allowed entry into UEFA as their 54th member.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.

From Bees and books to BT.

12 Nov

This Thursday, 14th November, sees a Brentford double header.

First up, Uwe will be in the club shop from 6pm to meet fans and sign copies of his autobiography. There can’t be too many Bees supporters who don’t know, at the least, the initial facts about his life but it really promises to be a fascinating read.

To read the rest of this article, season 2013/14 is now available to download onto Kindle, in full. Containing previously unseen content, you can do so here for less than the cost of one matchday programme.

 Thanks for reading over the course of the campaign. For now I need to make space on this page for any follow up.  The ‘close season’ / World Cup columns continue in full, further on in this site.